CEE Student Nominated for Prestigious ASEE Award

Leana Santos, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in structural engineering at the University of Connecticut, has been nominated for the Best Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Paper Award by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Her paper, which focuses on a redesigned Civil and Environmental Engineering course centered on “Sustainable Transportation,” will be presented at the ASEE meeting this month.

The course redesign, inspired by the Engineering for Human Rights Initiative, integrates sustainability, human rights, and transportation infrastructure. Students examine the environmental, societal, and economic impacts of land-based transportation systems. The paper documents the redesign process, highlighting experiences, challenges, and successes, and aims to guide future multidisciplinary engineering course redesigns with a student-centered approach.

In recent years, the importance of sustainability has been increasingly recognized across various fields, including engineering. Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underscore the urgency of adopting environmentally and socially responsible solutions, emphasizing the need for action to halve emissions by 2030. The engineering community, including institutions like UConn, has responded with research and educational initiatives to foster sustainable systems.

Santos, originally from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, moved to the United States in 2015 and completed her B.S. in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering at UConn. As a Harriott and GAANN Fellow, she is now pursuing her Ph.D. while also working towards a Graduate Certificate in College Instruction from UConn’s Neag School of Education. Santos’ nomination for the ASEE award underscores her dedication to addressing critical infrastructure challenges and promoting long-term sustainability through innovative educational approaches.